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Botswana Scraps Gay Sex Laws

Botswana Scraps Gay Sex Laws

Botswana’s High Court is of the opinion to remove a law criminalizing with consent, same-sex relations and marriage in a landmark victory for Africa’s LGBTQ movements.
Can you imagine this really happening? The court passing a law stating that the legislation is discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest? Yes, this did take place on 11th June, Tuesday.

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People parading with banners for the rights of LGBTQ

Moreover, Justice Michael Leburu said that sexual orientation “is not a fashion statement”. He continues the same, saying that the laws will violate citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.
In Botswana, however, you can rarely enforce the law and will also have a heavy bearing of up to 7 years of imprisonment.

“It is not the business of the law to regulate the private behavior of two consenting adults,” Leburu said.

Nevertheless, an anonymous gay man brings a case against the laws where he identifies himself only by the initials L.M.

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people parading with the LGBTQ flag after scraping of law

Gay sex is criminalized in more than half of Africa’s countries. Many of which have such penal codes from were the colonization of powers; like the British. Hence, this has been a subject that has been discriminatory with harassment being a constant rife.

Courts in other former British colonies outside Africa have made decisions similar to that of Botswana. Justice Leburu also cites India’s gay ruling in 2018 as a precedent with which he will make his decision.

 When a University student goes to Court 

The case is brought to court in March by Letsweletse Motshidiemang, a 21-year-old student at the University of Botswana, who argues that the society has changed and that homosexuality was more widely accepted, local media reported.
Keiksantse Phele, a Human Rights lawyer, said “A welcome development”. She is still adding to her speech by asking, “Are you doing a lot of work by providing access to all service, space, and developments?”
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Citizens wave the LGBTQ flag after the verdict.
The packed court erupted in cheers of joy upon hearing the verdict.

Botswana’s Recent Law Changes

Though homophobic attitudes continue to exist, Botswana’s LGBTQ activists and supporters are marking some victories in recent years:

  • The 2010 Employment Act made it illegal for employers to terminate contracts on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Throwback to 2014, the High Court is passing a rule that the government has to LEGABIBO to register as an organization.

Furthermore, In 2017,  the passing of a rule that allows trans people to easily change their official gender on identity documents.

 

Also, read about how a  Banned Lesbian Film Won Award In Africa’s Largest Film Festival

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